Tubman Funeral Home


Lawrence Downing

March 15, 1926September 21, 2020

Lawrence Downing passed away peacefully on September 21, 2020 at the age of 94. A private ceremony will be held with Pat Lyster officiating.

Lawrence was predeceased by his parents Cameron and Mary, siblings Alvin, Milton, Harold, Irene (Paris) Bulman, Elwood, Luella, Wray, Pearl (John) Bishop, Gordon (Florence), Greta (Jerry) Ballagh, Mary (Lloyd) Talbot and brothers in law Ron Thompson and Douglas Gibbens.

He is survived by his wife Orla, sons Larry (Kim) and family Robert, Nicholas, Sarah, Christopher, Jeffrey, Hannah and Lyle (Gaynette) and family Ashlyn (Andreus Delos Reyes) and Dylan. Lawrence is also survived by brother and sister in laws Donna Thompson, Harley (Myrna) Gibbens, Kenneth (Anne) Gibbens, Lansley (Jeanette) Gibbens, Francis Gibbens and many nieces and nephews. Lawrence was born on the family farm and attended Tipperary School. He always told us how he rode 12,000 miles on his horse to get to school over the years. He completed his grade 10 and then left school to farm full time. One of the stories he told us was when he was 20 he went to Indian Head to get his first car and then he drove it all the way to Balcarres to get his Drivers License!

He loved to farm. To expand the family farm he purchased his first quarter of land in 1949 which is still known to us at the “south quarter”. After his dad passed away in 1950 he became close with his neighbor Luis Forester who became his mentor in his early farming days. He was always willing to help out his neighbors with any task! In 1990 he accepted the family farm heritage award for a homestead that has been in the family for over 100 years!

During his years of farming, he always had about 10 head of cattle. He told us he never made much on the cattle but it gave him something to do in the winter time. He felt he lived during a great era….he started farming with horses and progressed to large machinery with air conditioning and autosteer (not that he used the autosteer!)

Lawrence and Orla (Gibbens) were married on January 16, 1965…no blizzard but it was -30! They have 2 sons Larry and Lyle who worked together with Lawrence for many years on the farm. Lawrence and Orla enjoyed camping, dancing and visiting with neighbours and friends. Aside from farming Lawrence snow plowed roads and yards in the district, fixed telephone lines, picked saskatoons and played for the Tipperary Tigers softball team. He also enjoyed hunting, curling and playing cards. He left the farm in 1994 to move “over the hill” to Katepwa Beach to retire. During retirement he was always seen watching the grandkids sports events (football, dance and hockey). He always wanted to know how they were doing and how school was going. When going to the rink you could always find him in the same spot in the bleachers watching whatever hockey was on….Minor Hockey, Broncs it didn’t matter! He also enjoyed going to the senior fastball games.

After moving to Katepwa Beach Lawrence would ask Orla if the garden needed tending to….secretly he just wanted to go to the farm to see what Lyle was up to on the farm!

Although he did drive the combine until he was 90, his health prevented him from doing his daily coffee run and checking the farm over the last few years.

In 2019 he made his debut appearance on social media when Ashlyn posted a picture of him climbing into the combine for a ride with over 87,000 people seeing the photo!

Ashlyn remembers Lawrence loving his sweets! We gave him chocolates for Christmas and he always had mints in the jar beside his chair to share. We have included a few chocolates in his urn courtesy of Myrna Gibbens.

We will miss his daily check-ins at the farm and his enormous knowledge of historical events.

Many thanks for all our family, friends and neighbors for your thoughts, prayers and condolences.


  • Private Graveside Service


Lawrence Downing

have a memory or condolence to add?

Leslie Kuzminski (CYR)

September 27, 2020

With such sadness do I write this. Mr Downing was an important person in my early life while living on the farm. I remember him coming by while Mom (Shirley) was Christmas baking. He would always play with my sister (Denise) and I with Barbie, playing house, and dressing dolls. As we got older and moved away, he would ask Carolanne how my family was doing. He was ready for a hug when we would drive out and visit our Aunt on the farm.

I would like to extend to Orla, Lyle and Larry my heartfelt condolences. Mr Downing was an amazing man and neighbor to us and especially to our Aunt Carolanne. He will be missed immensely in the community and of course within your family. May your memories keep you strong.

Lillian Ellis

September 27, 2020

Orla and family: So many fond memories from Tipperary days on the farm and over the years. May you find comfort in your memories for the loving, personable man that Lawrence was. God Bless you all! Lily and family.

Lorna McLean

September 26, 2020

He will be greatly missed. He was always my go to guy for history questions! I used to pass him on the road most mornings when I was on my way to work. So many good stories and laughs for you all to remember and enjoy. Take care.

Leanne Esplin-Procyshen

September 26, 2020

Our deepest sympathy Orla to you and the whole family!! Balcarres and area have lost a great friend!!

Beverly Esplin

September 26, 2020

Arch & I have lost another very close friend. Our friendship goes way back to when our kids were young. I ( Beverly) spent at least 2 years hauling grain for Lawrence in the fall. Never met a man as patient as he was whenever the combine plugged up. I always expected the air to get a little blue as they say but it never did. Orla always had such great meals and I remember one day at lunch time I must have had a second helping and Lawrence piped up with " I'd sure hate to see what you would eat if you had to shovel the grain off the truck". I've laughed over that many times.
We had many good visits as well as many crib games over the years . Orla, Larry, Lyle and families, you will have many great moments to remember over the coming years. You will find his name will often pop up into your conversations. Our condolences to you all.

Arch & Beverly Esplin

Les & Marg Smith

September 26, 2020

Our sincere sympathy, Orla & Family.

Shelly Brock

September 25, 2020

Many memories of a wonderful neighbor in the Tipperary District. Lawrence will be sadly missed. Thinking of you Orla and family.

Cara McNaughton

September 25, 2020

I’ll always remember going up to the farm to check out the old homestead. It didn’t matter when it was, Uncle Lawrence would always happen to show up in his little truck outta now where to see who was there. So many memories of time spent up at the farm with Uncle Lawrence and the family. 💕

joanne onrait

September 25, 2020

So sorry for your loss our condolences to all the family. Lawrence was a great man and will be missed by all who knew him.

Ashlyn Downing

September 25, 2020

“The famous photo” of grandpa that is posted on Twitter


Learn more about the Downing name